Is an Elementary Teacher’s salary really that bad? How does teacher pay compare? For decades, researchers have asked whether teacher compensation has kept pace with outside job opportunities, and whether compensation is sufficiently competitive to attract the quality of instructors desired. Review the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in this education infographic and decide for yourself.
Author Archive: Fran
Go to any bookstore and you will find multiple shelves stacked with books that focus on nothing else but leadership. One might discuss how to become a leader, another how to remain a leader and another try to describe what is a leader in the first place.
Not to be outdone, I would like to offer a simple definition of leadership (not my own, but I have no recollection where I heard it) and discuss its implications for school leadership.
Has it been over 2000 years already? Time seems to fly by when you’re having so much fun. Of course, I’m talking about all those philosophical discussions that have taken place trying to figure out the secret to raising the moral child. Many of us feel it is of upmost importance for schools to be involved in this worthwhile pursuit; the question is in what capacity?
I hope you’re not one of the many people whose eyes start to glaze over when we begin to talk about the place of moral education in our schools. “Shouldn’t that be left to religion?” is a frequently heard comment. But the most common is, “Aren’t they a bit young to start thinking about stuff [...]
I know you’re going to call me naive. I know you’re going to say that simple solutions to complex problems can do more harm than good. I’m even reminded of a mental health professional who remarked that the ‘Just Say No” campaign to battle teenage substance abuse was like trying to battle the problem of homelessness by giving everyone a button saying “Just Buy A Home”. This would certainly hold true when speaking of dealing with bullies. But I’m going to throw it out there anyhow.
Principals are busy people. It is no secret that all principals are required to wear a variety of ‘hats’, assuming the role of manager, social worker, leader, fund raiser, to name just a few. In many instances it is the ability of principals to juggle these ‘hats’ that determines their professional success or failure.
What is the secret to the great teacher? What is it that defines the master educator? Mastery of the subject being taught is essential, as is a passion for the subject as well as for transferring knowledge or skill to students. Additionally, one would require some training or natural talent in order to employ the most effective methodologies available. Mastery, passion, training and talent; impressive, but something is missing.
I always teach my kids never to call anyone stupid. So you’ll have to excuse me for my language when I ask, “How stupid can they be?” No, I’m not referring to my kids, I’m referring to all those who are riding the wave of the newest craze, virtual education.
Why? Let’s be frank, it’s usually because I don’t particularly care to talk to you. This holds true in social relationships and it holds true in parent- teacher communication. We simply don’t want to talk.
We have previously argued that educators must play the role of both facilitating the learning process and filtering the acquired knowledge so that students not only learn but also know what they must remember. The expiration date of unfiltered knowledge will be determined by the date of the final test. The point made was that if students are asked to remember almost everything they learn, (an impossible task) they will respond by forgetting almost everything they learn. Clearly communicating to students which knowledge is of enduring value is the key to solving the ‘why our students know so little’ syndrome.
Renowned humorist Dave Barry reflects on his college experience and writes:
College is basically a bunch of rooms where you sit for roughly two thousand hours and try to memorize things… Basically, you learn two kinds of things in college:
Things you will need to know in later life (two hours). These include how to make collect telephone calls and get beer and crepe-paper stains out of your pajamas.
Things you will not need to know in later life (1,998 hours). These are the things you learn in classes whose names end in -ology, – - -osophy, -istry, -ics, and so on. The idea is, you memorize these things, then write them down in little exam books, then forget them…
After you’ve been in college for a year or so, you’re supposed to choose a major, which is the subject you intend to memorize and forget the most things about.
While Barry may be somewhat diminishing the value of a college education, he has hit upon an important issue that effects schooling at almost every level. Put simply we may ask: Why do our children learn so much and yet know so little?
Failure motivates. Well, to be more accurate, fear of failure motivates. We live in a society in which the Lombardi motto ‘winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing’ drives athletes towards excellence and has been often quoted, and subsequently adopted, in the business world as well. Coming in second is now viewed, in the words of comic Jerry Seinfeld, as being ‘the first loser’, making the thought of failure to win a distasteful, if not outright scary, prospect.
What is it with elementary and high school teachers? Here’s a scenario that, unfortunately, is all too common:
Student: “Oh, Mrs. Smith, I wanted to hand in my report on the Solar System”.
Teacher: “I can’t accept that report”.
Student: “Why not?”
Teacher: “That report was due yesterday. You can’t turn it in late!”
Student: “Why, did the Solar System change that much since yesterday?”
Teacher: “No, but it is my job to teach you responsibility! And also, you have to learn that in life you do not get second chances!”
A conversation overheard a million times in classrooms across America. “Why”, complains 4th grade student Timmy, “Did I get a C on my report card”? “Oh no, Timmy”, replies his teacher, “You didn’t get a C, you earned a C!” (In the age of massive grade inflation – a discussion for another time – I guess this conversation would include a B, or even an A-.) Timmy walks away unconvinced. Actually, he thinks, I didn’t earn it, you gave it to me.